6/10/2009 3:35:00 PM
INQ looks beyond 3 for more operator deals
INQ is releasing three new phones in 2009 and is in talks with several operators on distributing its social mobile handsets by 2010.
The manufacturer, which is owned by Hutchison Whampoa, will release two more INQ phones and a Skype phone by the end of this year.
CEO Frank Meehan told Mobile: ‘We are in discussions with other UK operators and by 2010 we plan to sell phones on operators other than 3.’
INQ has outlined the potential of its sub-£150 handsets to be big generators of data usage among the younger ‘Facebook generation’.
Meehan (pictured) said 60% of all INQ handset users are regularly using Facebook and 30% are using email.
The manufacturer is aiming to differentiate itself from big name manufacturers by making it as fast and as simple to carry out Facebook messages, instant messaging, Twitter posts and Skype calls as it is to make standard voice calls and send text messages.
One of the new phones will have a Twitter client that can be used in a similar way to INQ’s original Facebook handset. Meehan said the device will work ‘straight off data so there are no text charges’.
INQ will continue to broaden its handset range in 2010 and intends to expand into Asia, the Middle East and Latin America. Meehan added: ‘We are doing well – the Skype phones and INQ device have sold 700,000 so far. The next Skype phone will do well based on that.’
The new handsets will be priced below $200 (£130) for operators. The Skype phone will remain on 3, but INQ has agreed to remove the Skype application from its other handsets if the operator requests it.
Meehan said the manufacturer does not have plans for a smartphone similar to the Apple iPhone or Nokia N97, and added: ‘I think we are redefining what a smartphone is. Our devices work like a PC – they use our own operating system.’